(Pic caption: Newport's Jon Mould riding in the National Road Series in Abergavenny last year. Pic: SWPix)
WELSH international Jon Mould will be looking to lay down a significant marker on his British rivals this Friday as he leads the home assault on the Welsh Open Criterium around Abergavenny town centre.
The 26-year-old from Newport will be looking to warm-up for the National Criterium Championships in Sheffield later this month by claiming the top prize in the Abergavenny race, the third leg of the HSBC UK British Cycling National Circuit Series.
And it will be a welcome race just up the road from his home, with other legs taking place hundreds of miles away in the north of England.
The Welsh Open Criterium, part of the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling, will also see a galaxy of other stars including triple Olympic Games Team Pursuit gold medallist Ed Clancy.
Mould rode the first leg of the Series in Otley last week and continues his assault on the National Series crown at Skipton in Yorkshire before hitting the roads in Monmouthshire on Friday evening.
Mould, who won the National Series in 2015 and rode for Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, said of the Abergavenny race: “It will be really tough. There are some good riders in the field.
“I won the Series in 2015 but I never went out with the aim of winning it. I went out and raced each element of the Series as a bike race and, if you do that, you get up there in the Series.”
And, while 26-year-old Mould is on the same JLT Condor team as Clancy and another big name who always seems to do well in Abergavenny, Doncaster 33-year-old Graham Briggs, they will all be fighting to overhaul current Series leader Chris Lawless, who won the Otley event.
With such big guns in the JLT Condor squad, Mould and his team-mates have no idea who will be leading their team on the night in Abergavenny.
“Ed is on my team but we don't have team orders before the day of the race. I will be aiming to win it, though.”
Mould, who won a stage of the New Zealand Cycling Classic earlier this year, said: “I seem to be more in my car than on my bike these days, going up and down the country to race so it will be good to race near home.
“I have the National Crit Championships, which are in Sheffield, in two weeks so that will be a nice one to aim for. This is good prep for it and I will be looking to win the National Jersey,” said the Welsh ace who has already won eight National Jersey titles in his 13-year racing career so far.
The Welsh Open Criterium evening place in the middle of Abergavenny town centre and starts with support races from 5.30pm.
One of the highlights of the evening, along with the National Series, is the Traders Cardiac Race which has already received excellent support and entries from businesses around Abergavenny.
There is free entry on the night to any local business person who wishes to take part.